US Senate Passes Historic Legislation To Fight Climate Change and Advance Climate Justice: With $370 Billion in Climate Spending, Measure Now Moves to the House of Representatives for Vote as Early as Friday
WASHINGTON, DC: After a marathon all-night debate, the US Senate passed legislation today to dramatically accelerate the nation’s fight against climate change, expand health insurance, and to lower prescription drug costs. Vice President Kamala Harris joined 50 Democratic Senators in voting yes for the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The climate features of the bill, described here, would vastly accelerate the nation’s use of clean energy and help cut greenhouse gas emissions up to 40% below 2005 levels by 2030.
CCAN Action Fund is enthusiastically applauding Senate passage of the IRA. A side agreement of the bill, however, could accelerate approval of oil and gas pipelines, drawing fierce opposition from groups like CCAN Action Fund with pledges to defeat this separate measure in September.
Statement from Mike Tidwell, Executive Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and CCAN Action Fund:
“Today’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act by the US Senate is a game-changing step in the fight to rescue our planet from extreme climate change. If the US House concurs as expected this week, the bill will be remembered as a turning point in the nation’s move to ‘electrify everything’ with clean energy while protecting our most vulnerable communities from climate impacts and energy cost burdens.
“In the Chesapeake region of Maryland, Virginia, DC, and West Virginia, this bill will greatly incentivize manufacturing for wind and solar energy systems while growing our offshore wind industry with smart and strategic tax credits. It will mean many more affordable electric cars throughout our region with a rapidly growing network of charging stations in addition to funding for more walkable communities.
“Also, thanks to the tireless efforts of Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen, this bill will create America’s first national Green Bank with $9 billion. The bank will transform American homes with loans and grants for heat pumps, electric water heating systems, and other low- and zero-carbon energy systems.
“Many thanks also to Stacey Abrams of Georgia. Her tireless efforts over the years to register Georgia voters and fight for justice led directly to the US Senate election victories of Rafael Warnock (D-GA) and Jon Ossoff (D-GA) in 2021. Without Abrams’ visionary efforts, the Senate would not have had the votes to win today on climate and prescription drugs. Period.”
“But should this bill prevail in the House this week as expected, the climate fight will be far from over. We must do more to right the wrongs of climate injustice and continue our effort to make communities of color, that have been disproportionately impacted, whole again. CCAN Action Fund is committed with hundreds of other groups to stopping any ‘permit reform’ legislation – proposed for a September vote – that could ease approval of unimaginably destructive fossil fuel pipelines like the Mountain Valley Pipeline proposed for West Virginia and Virginia. We will fight as hard to stop that bill as we’ve fought to pass this climate bill today.”
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The CCAN Action Fund is the advocacy arm of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For 20 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.